[Ed] is phenomenal at understanding deals…[He] knows how to navigate the often complex internal politics of big companies…His experience and thought leadership are extremely valuable in devising strategies and tactics.” - Chambers USA

Edward J. Lee is a corporate partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Ed’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and shareholder activism defense. Ed also regularly counsels corporations and boards of directors on securities law, corporate governance and crisis management.

Ed has extensive experience advising major public companies and private equity firms on their most significant domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, as well as on spin-offs and carve-outs, joint ventures, and initial public and other complex securities offerings. During his career, he has advised on announced transactions with an aggregate value of over $700 billion, including over $375 billion over the last five years. Ed has represented clients in some of the most significant and complex M&A transactions in recent years, including United Technologies’ $140 billion merger of equals with Raytheon Company and simultaneous spin-offs of Carrier Global and Otis Worldwide, and its $30.3 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins; Celgene Corporation’s $98 billion acquisition by Bristol Myers Squibb; Walgreens’ $27 billion two-staged acquisition of Alliance Boots GmbH and related reorganization to create Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.; NortonLifeLock’s ~$25 billion combination with Avast; and Salesforce’s $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau.

Ed has also advised numerous boards of directors and senior management teams in connection with unsolicited takeover proposals, as well as in response to shareholder activism campaigns and other contested situations involving, among others, Elliott Management, Jana Partners, Sachem Head, Third Point, Pershing Square, Relational Investors, and Starboard Value.

Chambers USA recognizes Ed as among the best lawyers in the country for Corporate/M&A. Ed also is recognized as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America (across all practice areas, as well as among dealmakers) by Lawdragon, as a “Notable Diverse Leader in Law” by Crain’s, and as an “M&A Client Service All-Star” by BTI Consulting Group. In 2022, he was one of six M&A attorneys nationwide chosen as a Law360 MVP. Ed has been named a leading lawyer and as “highly regarded” within the M&A practice by IFLR1000, and as a “Rising Star” in Corporate/M&A by Expert Guides and by Law360. He has also been recognized by The Legal 500 for his work on mergers & acquisitions and shareholder activism. Ed has also been highlighted on Variety’s 2024 list of “Hollywood’s Top Entertainment Attorneys” and as a “Top Dealmaker of 2023” by The Hollywood Reporter. The Ascend Foundation recognized Ed among its 2024 A-List Award recipients for his achievements and contributions to the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Ed is a frequent speaker on M&A and shareholder activism, including co-chairing PLI’s Shareholder Activism conference in 2018–2020.


Memberships & Affiliations

David Rockefeller Fellow, Partnership for New York City, Class of 2017–2018

Board of Directors, Harvard Law School Association of New York City

Cornell University Council

Board of Directors, Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) 


Admissions & Qualifications

  • New York


  • Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.cum laude
  • Cornell UniversityB.S.